Lions and Tigers, and Galapagos Toroises, OH MY!

Hola, Buenos Tardes from Guayabillas, Ibarra, Ecuador!!!

Just a quick update from Regina Huston, from Indianapolis, IN!

Guayabillas is a resue center for many wild animals. They take in animals that have been kept in horrible conditions, injured, or simply need a new and better home. Without government funding, they function soley off of donations from multiple people and organizations, which also includes volunteer donations.  Volunteers stay either with a local homestay family, or at the center itself. Currently, Guayabillas is called home to….

2 lions, 2 ocelots, 1 small wild cat, a plethora of birds, 4 different kinds of monkeys, 3 galapagos tortoises, 30 other turtles, 3 cuchochos (related to racoons), 2 agutis, 1 gaunti, 1 small deer, 1 sloth, chickens, 2 rabbits, 17 guinea pigs, 2 small boas, 10 geese, 5 llamas, and 2 rescue dogs that roam freely around the center.

As a volunteer, you get the pleasure of ¨daily chores¨which include; cleaning the cages, cleaning up around the center, preparing food for the animals, feeding the animals, playing with the non agressive animals (monkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, and cuchochos), and enjoying an ice cream after a long day of hard work.

For me, aftger being in the wonderful city of Ibarra for almost a whole month (scary thought in itself), I have learned so many new things!

For example, galapagos tortoises can go almost a year without needing to be fed, monkeys LOVE to explore pockets, shirts, hair, and boots, expensive means paying 5 dollars for 3 pineapples instead of 3, and always wear gloves when handling food for the birds since their beaks are incredibly sharp.

I live with a local family of four, including my host parents, Oscar and Anita, Oscar is my boss who takes the other volunteers and myself to work every morning, 2 children, Danni is their daughter who is 9 years old, and Santi is their son who is 3.

Most of Oscar´s family lives in the rooms/apartments above ours, in the complex along with a mechanic shop behind the house.

>Tuesdays and Fridays we go to the local market to buy and bargain for food for the animals.  Corn, papayas, lettuce, carrots, parsley, fruits, eggs, meat, and nuts are typically what we bargain for during the morning.

After loading up the entire bed of the truck, Oscar buys us a small but delicious breakfast consisting of empanadas and blackberry juice.

Currently, there are 5 volunteers working at Guayabillas, including myself. Sanna is 20 years old from Sweden, Kathrin is 20 years old from Germany, Julia is 39 from Germany, and Lenni is 21 from Germany as well. Sanna and Kathrin live with Oscar´s family with me, and Julia and Lenni will soon be living together with a different homestay family two blocks from our house.

Recently at the center, we have begun building two new cages for the baby cuchocho, and the 5 llamas. Also, we recieved a sick baby cow, which was eventually fed to the lions, and even though I refused to watch that, they seemed to have enjoyed it very much.

Other than that, there isn´t much going on here!

Ciao Ciao, buenos tardes, buen provecho,

Hasta luego!

Regina Huston

Guayabillas, Ibarra, Ecuador